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Advanced Food Manufacturing

NIFA programs invest in and advance food manufacturing technologies supporting the Administration’s R&D priorities to implement advanced manufacturing in support of the bioeconomy and address USDA’s strategic goals in tackling food and nutrition security and expanding market opportunities of agricultural and food products. Food manufacturing embraces a broad range of sciences, engineering, and technology. Convergence of scientific approaches is exemplified through multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborative undertakings. The advanced food manufacturing encompasses engineering, processing technologies, packaging, sanitation, high-speed automation, industrial robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, data sciences, information technology, digital twins, mathematical modeling and computer simulation, quality testing and safety inspections. Cutting-edge technologies can streamline logistics, extend shelf life, ensure safety, utilize by-products, and minimize food waste and loss. Emphasis is placed on cutting-edge innovative technologies that can significantly improve energy and water use efficiency and minimize environmental footprints towards better sustainability.

Importance of Advanced Food Manufacturing

Agriculture is the foundation of manufacture and commence”, envisioned by the founding fathers of USDA, remains true today. Food manufacturing contributes substantially to the nation’s economic prosperity, ensures abundant, safe, nutritious, and affordable food for the citizens of the United States and beyond. Manufacturing is about to translate the cutting-edge science and discovery into products, processes, technologies, and services that benefit society and the environment.

  • Strengthen national and global food and nutrition security
  • Expand marketability of food products and grow the national economy
  • Improve quality, safety, nutritional value, convenience and affordability and equity of foods
  • Develop effective, functional and environmentally friendly food packaging materials and designs
  • Create food products with increased shelf-life to reduce food waste
  • Increase the resilience of U.S. food supply chains
  • Enhance sustainability by developing innovative technologies that use less energy, water, materials, and other resources
  • Create well-trained and higher-paying workforce

NIFA’s Impact 

NIFA initiatives focus on conducting fundamental research and developing technology applications such as:

  • Thermal and non-thermal processing technology to improve quality and nutrition, and ensure safety of food
  • Food packaging materials and technologies towards sustainable utilization of materials
  • Nanosensors that can detect contaminants, including pathogens or allergens
  • Devices for detecting residuals of agrochemicals in food products
  • Improved scientific understanding and technologies to improve the digestibility, nutrient content, and palatability of food
  • Smart systems to allow the real-time monitoring and regulation of medicines or nutrients, and the environment


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